Ukraine could become another Somalia, bishop warns

The time for cautious diplomacy in dealing with the Ukrainian crisis is over, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has said.

Expressing disappointment in the Vatican’s low-key approach to the issue, Kiev-Halych’s Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said “The fact that 70 percent of Ukrainian army regulars fighting against separatists and Russian soldiers have Russian as their mother-tongue shows the unity of our people and our army,” continuing, “What we are seeing is a foreign invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian troops.”

Despite Ukrainian Catholic leaders’ repeated claims of Russian intervention, Moscow continues to deny having sent troops to the former Soviet republic, although it admits Russian “volunteers” are fighting alongside the separatists.

Meanwhile, US Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, who was nuncio in Kiev until last month, says “Ukraine desperately needs support from abroad, so it doesn't become a so-called failed state”, expressing concern that the country could become “a kind of Somalia”.